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tv   The Last Word  MSNBC  September 2, 2011 3:00am-4:00am EDT

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the one who beat them four times. >> the american public looks at and goes, are you serious? >> this is what people hate about politics. >> god help us. >> after a day of petty bickering, the white house wants to focus on jobs. >> it's time to stop the gamesmanship. >> the whole thing is silly. >> create jobs and get the economy going. >> make stupid congress look even stupider. >> speaker boehner. he could have said, all right, i'll take the high road. >> now he has pushed the president around again. >> who, if anyone, wins this political game of hard ball? >> the republican snub may be historic, but republican obstinance is not. >> of those seeking work have found it. >> it's deja vu all over again. >> imagine congress telling lbj, no, you're not going to give a speech here. >> let me warn you -- >> same thing with reagan, same with fdr. >> cross our hearts and hope to die, we believe in work for the unemployed. >> but the ideas of the
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republican candidates are historic. >> every idea being advanced by every republican candidate -- >> career politicians -- >> has been tried before and failed.ç >> and i have a record, and i've got a record i'm proud of. >> mitt romney or governor perry or congresswoman bachmann. >> both ronald reagan and margaret thatcher. >> under president reagan, our country is prouder and stronger. >> cross our hearts and hopeo die. the one-day controversy known as speechgate is over. the president has accepted an invitation to speak to a joint session of congress about job creation next thursday at 7:00 p.m. eastern. that's the day after the first republican presidential debate
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that will include rick perry. next week will be the first opportunity for voters to hear directly within a 24-hour period from presidential candidates and president obama on their ideas to create jobs and their visions for the country and the future. voters will be able for the first time to compare and contrast those ideas and that is exactly what the obama team is counting on. making 2012 a contrast election with the republicans. that is the only way to win re-election during a time of unacceptably high unemployment. in an exclusive today, "time" magazine reports that's the conclusion. bill daley and his senior advisors came to that conclusion after a secret white house staff retreat in june. historian michael beshlosh was invited to come to that meeting
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economies and won. "time" white house correspondent michael scherer who broke this story reports, fdr and reagan argued that the country, though in pain, was improving and that their opponents anchored in past failures would make things worse. the president's aides all resigned to unemployment above 8% on election day, now see in roosevelt and reagan a plausible path to victory. they intend to make sure that voters believe a year from now that their fortunes are improving and that they plan to persuade the american people that a republican in the white house would be a step backward. michael scherer will join me in just a moment. but first, a little history. in 1936, when fdr was running his first re-election campaign, the unemployment rate was 17%. that was down from 20% when he first took office.
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here is the case fdr made for his re-election in a speech at madison square garden october 31, 1936, four days before the election. >> for nearly four years now, you have had an administration which instead of twiddling its thumbs has rolled up its sleeves. [ cheers and applause ] >> we will keep our sleeves rolled up. we have to struggle with the old enemies of peace. business and financial monopoly, speculation, reckless banking, class antagonism, sectionalism, war profiteering. never before in all our history have these forces been so united against one candidate as they stand today.ç they are unanimous in their hate
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for me, and i welcome their hatred. [ cheers and applause ] >> that is the fdr voice that i have always known. formal, distant in its way, elitist sounding in a certain kind of way. now i'm going to show you a different tape of fdr. this is where he was politically at home. this is a month earlier at a democratic convention in syracuse, new york state, democratic party convention. the state democratic party that gave rise to fdr, that made him governor first before becoming president. these are his people. he's talking to them. warning them about the dangers of electing a republican. >> let me warn you and let me warn the nation against the
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evasion that says, of course we believe these things. we believe in social security. we believe in work for the unemployed. we believe in saving homes. cross our hearts and hope to die. we believe in all these things. but we do not like the way the present administration is doing them. just turn them over to us. we will do all of them. we will do more of them. we will do them better.ç and most important of all, the doing of them will not cost anybody anything. [ cheers and applause ] >> that is the tape that explains to me how fdr won elections and re-elections.
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that smile, that fdr as almost stand-up comedian. that's about as jocular as he got in those days. joining me now is michael scherer, white house >> well, you know, the premise was at that point if you remember a few months ago there was a talking point in the press that the unemployment rate in the spring of the election year is more or less determinative of
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how the election is going to go. and that's not exactly how the white house wanted it to go. and beshlosh was brought in to explain the exceptions to that. 7.2% unemployment for reagan, in the high teens for roosevelt. and to explain how they pulled it off. and like you said, he made two points. he said first of all, americans have to believe that things are getting better, know there's a path forward. and secondly, they have to think that the republicans, the other side, or the democrats, the opponents, are going to make things worse. and both of them used remarkably similar strategies. reagan always looked to roosevelt as a model for himself. both of them also had economies growing much faster than barack obama will have next year. no one is projecting the kind of growth in gdp that both reagan and roosevelt had.
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but you can see in the strategy already in the moves that obama is making right now. next week, he's going to lay out a jobs proposal that he hopes will actually if it gets passed get the ball rolling next spring, get people feeling like there's hope again, that they feel the improvement. and no doubt republicans will try and block some or all of that plan. and it's on that comparison that obama will make the case that republicans are actually not what you want to fix this economy. >> michael, i think the single most important line or principle outlined in your piece is that you say no iron law in politics is ever 100% accurate. and that was beshlosh's piece. because we have been hearing this relentlessly now, as long as i can remember in the discussion of this campaign, that, hey, the unemployment rate is above eight, if it's above nine, it's hopeless, it's over. we had allen lickman last night saying it's important, but it's one of many things. he actually lists 13 other
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things -- 12 other things in addition to that that he actually weighs equally, including things like scandal in an administration. and strength of the opponents. strength of the opponents is exactly now where the white house is focused. does that mean they're planning on running in effect a negative campaign on whoever that nominee is? >> no doubt it will be negative. the question is whether it will be a personally negative campaign or a negative campaign built on issues. you cannot talk to a democrat in this town or even in chicago working on the campaign without them volunteering information about what allows the candidate they think mitt romney will be, the candidate that rick perry will be, how that comparison they'll be able to make, supporting unpopular things like the ryan budget, will help them. they also point to polling for the republican party. generally republicans in congress is very low right now. i'm not sure -- i'm not sure a lot of independent observers are
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totally convinced it's going to be that easy. polling for the republican party was extremely low. polling for republican leadership in congress was extremely low at the end of 2010 when republicans took the house. the american public right now is in the habit of turning the bums out of office, whoever they are, because they have been angry now for three cycles. and there's a real risk that could happen again next year. >> michael, your last paragraph is the perfect antidote to anyone who thinks it's going to be easy. you write in 1980, with the economy sagging, jimmy carter imagined nearly to the end that ronald reagan was too extreme, and reagan won in a landslide. you say it's dangerous to underestimate your enemy in difficult times. i'll never forget how in 1980, i mean, i was a kid who had nothing to do with politics. but it was unimaginable that this actor, this extremist, could win the presidency. he won 49 states in my unimaginable that he could win the presidency scenario. so that is the other lesson they have to think about, isn't it?
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>> yeah. and what's going to happen in this cycle like in 1980 is it will come down to the final few months of the campaign, come down to whether the republican opponent is stumbling at that point, is able to offer a credible case. or like reagan, appeared like someone who could be president. reagan at the very final months of that campaign, despite the fact that he had done movies with chimps and had been, you know, a real ideological activist for a long time, was able to make the case to the american people that he could handle the job. >> michael scherer, white house correspondent for "time" magazine with the mandatory reading of the week. thank you for joining us, michael. >> thank you. how should president obama convince americans that he'll handle economic problems better than his republican challengers? chris hayes will join me next to help draw those distinctions. and mitt romney decides it's time to go after a voting bloc he had given up, tea partiers. that has some tea partiers lining up to protest romney instead of listen to him.
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one of our guests last night told us that polls don't matter, especially early polls of primary candidates. so next, we will be reporting to you the latest presidential primary polls and ask chris hayes to outline president obama's best strategy against his republican challengers. and later, one of those republican challengers is suddenly getting a surge in tea party support, and so of course michele bachmann is attacking him.
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in a new poll that allen lickman assured us last night absolutely doesn't matter, president obama holds a slim lead over new republican front-runner rick perry, 43-41% when it comes to handling the economy. that's of course a statistical tie when you factor in the margin of error. with congresswoman michele bachmann, president obama fares of course much better. despite or perhaps because of her promise this past saturday that as president she would turn things around within one economic quarter. in that head-to-head economic matchup, the president has an 11-point lead, 48% to 37%. but the white house has a problem when it comes to willard m. romney. romney edges out president obama in this economic poll by four points, 46% to 42%. and with "time" magazine reporting today that the white house is eyeing a campaign like reagan's in 1984 or fdr's in
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1936, republican world is already working on its rebuttal. weekly standard founder bill crystal blogged today in reaction to the time magazine reporting, when barack obama took over, unemployment stood at 7.8%. it's now 9.1%, and gdp growth under obama has so far been running at about 1% a year. the bottom line, obama's economic record is unlikely to look anything like that of roosevelt's or reagan's. but if the analogy provided a lift for the obama team, that's great. they undoubtedly needed a little cheering up. the rest of us can look forward to being cheered up in november 2012 by the change in the oval office we've been waiting for. joining me now is chris hayes, msnbc political analyst and editor at large for "the nation." his new weekend show premieres here on msnbc later this fall. thank you for joining me tonight, chris. >> thank you, lawrence.
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great to be here. >> chris, i now have a new favorite fdr tape, which we have already played once in the show. >> i love it. >> i love it so much, i really want to see it again. this is fdr. a warning, warning against electing republicans, and doing it with a kind of charm, with this smile, with this attitude, that i hadn't seen before in the limited amount of fdr speaking stuff that i've seen. let's just watch it and glory in it once again. >> let me warn you and let me warn the nation against the smooth evasion that says, of course we believe these things. we believe in social security. we believe in work for the unemployed. we believe in saving homes. cross our hearts and hope to die. we believe in all these things.
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but we do not like the way the present administration is doing them. just turn them over to us. [ cheers and applause ] >> we will do all of them. we will do more of them. we will do them better. and most important of all, the doing of them will not cost anybody anything. [ cheers and applause ] >> yeah, that guy won. chris, president obama we know doesn't like that direct confrontational language. but there's fdr. there's a harvard man, an ivy league dignified guy, who it didn't seem like mudslinging. it doesn't seem like he was getting his hands dirty. it seemed like he was really telling the truth about all of these programs that fdr created
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that they were saying, oh, we can do that better. >> there is a few things about it. aside from the sheer awesomeness of the delight of him baiting his enemies, it's important to remember -- i was looking at the numbers today. gdp growth in 1936 was 13%, i want to say. i mean, even though the economy was still mired in a horrible, absolute position, the trend line was remarkable. and the trend line for the duration of fdr's first term was remarkable. every year, there was an average 7% or 8% gdp growth. the unemployment rate came down. so he was sort of rightfully boastful about his record. and i think the other thing that's so fascinating is the distinction between fdr and now is that you can see from that clip the campaign was being waged on his ideological turf. it was being waged on who can best implement this host of programs that i have articulated. that is not the case in 2012.
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it is not -- if it's being waged on anyone's ideological turf at this point, it's on the turf of the republican party, which is how much and how to cut and how to restrain and how to deal with long-term deficits. >> now, chris, what about the risk of underestimating the republican nominee that president obama will be running against? there are some seriously flawed possibilities out there in the republican field. but that 1980 example of ronald reagan just being unimaginable to many of us -- i didn't know anything about politics. i was just a citizen. a recent voter. and i just thought, it's impossible. of course, living in massachusetts it was impossible for reagan to be elected. and he was not elected president of massachusetts. but, you know, look, he swept 49 states. and really a lot of democrats just never saw that as a possibility. are the democrats and is the white house nervous enough that whoever this nominee turns out to be, they're going to see a
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possible reagan who they are going to have to turn into such -- create such negative imagery around that person and try to beat them? >> well, look, two things i would say. one is that the beacon for the white house is that the president's personal appeal remains remarkably hot. he outperforming the fundamentals on a whole lot of dimensions about whether he is trustworthy, knowledgeable, a good decision maker. all these things. on performance, job performance, his job performance numbers are very low. so they have this sort of -- they feel they have a repository of personal appeal they could work on, and they could use to contrast with whoever the candidate is. the other thing i would say is having talked to some folks in the white house in the last month or whatever, it's fairly clear they are aware that they are not in a great situation. i mean, they understand it is rough out there right now. it is one of the roughest stretches in recent memory certainly, and possibly in 70 years for the american economy, for the american worker, and for the voter. and so i think it's very
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unlikely they will take anyone for granted going into this election, because you would have to be blind not to understand the way the deck has been stacked against the president because of what the economic fundamentals look like. >> chris hayes, we're looking forward to your show on msnbc on weekend mornings starting in the fall. thank you for joining us tonight, and thank you for filling in for me the last couple of weeks. >> of course, lawrence. anytime. thanks. >> thank you. coming up, michele bachmann wants her tea party spotlight back from the texan who stole it.
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when he was running for senate in massachusetts in 1994, mitt romney actually tried to run to ted kennedy's left. he told massachusetts voters he'd be more of a leader on gay rights than ted kennedy. a month ago, romney signed the pledge against marriage equality that most of the rest of the republican candidates signed, the one that rick santorum signed. and now the super rich romney wants the tea party to believe he's unemployed and flies coach. that's coming up. and the premiere of richard engel's and rachel maddow's special report on how america has changed since 9/11 premieres tonight after this show. richard engel joins me. [ woman ] jogging stroller. you've been stuck in the garage
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in tonight's "spotlight," the perry effect on the republican presidential candidates. the new poll here shows rick perry now beating michele bachmann by more than two to one. bachmann comes in third now behind mitt romney. the last quinnipiac poll had her in second before rick perry jumped into the race. and more importantly for bachmann, rick perry trounces her among tea party members with a 17-point lead. perry's tea party polling is better than both bachmann and romney combined. now bachmann supporters are going on the offensive against perry. a pro bachmann super pac will begin airing this ad on tv in south carolina next week. >> rick perry says he's one tough hombre on spending. but what's his record? rick perry doubled spending in a decade. and this year, rick perry's
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spending more money than the state takes in, covering his deficits with record borrowing. and he is supposed to be the tea party guy? there is an honest conservative, and she's not rick perry. this afternoon, perry's spokesperson ray sullivan, not the ray sullivan i went to high school with, right? no. ok. ray sullivan blasted the ad, issuing a statement that reads, in part, congresswoman bachmann's front-group ad is patently and provably false. joining me now, mark mckinnon, a republican adviser for the nolabels.org. you know texas politics as well as anyone we can get on the show, especially texas republican politics. what do you make of the surge of rick perry? >> entirely predictable in my view. the only thing that surprised me
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a year ago is he wasn't in the race already. as i looked at the field and where all of the energy in the republican party was, it just seemed a complete natural for rick perry. so the fact he has taken off like he has is not a surprise to me at all. i have watched rick perry for 20 years or more. and the notion that somebody is going to attack him for not being conservative enough, that dog ain't going to hunt, i guarantee you. people make a lot about the fact that perry was a democrat. well, 20 years ago, texas was a two-party state. but it was -- you were either a democrat or a conservative democrat. there was no republican party. >> right. >> so perry was a conservative democrat. he became a republican as soon as there was a republican party. and ever since, i assure you he has been very conservative. and there's a lot of people who will say that, you know, perry makes george bush look like george mcgovern. so proving his conservative bona fideus is not going to be an issue. >> apparently he will have to prove them to michele bachmann,
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who is violated to our delight that you don't fire at other republicans, you just go after the democrats. i learned something that i did not know in bachmann's ad there about rick perry doubling spending in 10 years and also that he is running a deficit now. i haven't been reading, you know, the texas press every day, so i'm not that up on it. and this is exactly what reagan feared, is that information like that and attacks like that will actually inform the democrats about how to attack republicans. >> well, listen, i think you have mentioned ray sullivan's response, and i read it. and i think it was a pretty credible response. of course there's more spending now than there was. they have a better economy. they have a lot more jobs. texas has created more jobs in the private sector in the last 10 years than the entire country combined. that's a fact. and at a time when the issue is jobs, perry will have a great case to make that he is the jobs governor. and i think he has a real fight with romney. and i think it's going to very likely be a contest between those two. and perhaps others.
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but michele bachmann fighting -- trying to take him on as not conservative enough is not going to work. >> romney obviously realizes he has to join the fight and he has to join the fight over tea party voters. he is heading to a tea party event in new hampshire on sunday. because he's going to it, now freedom works are pulling out of the event, just to protest romney coming to talk. so romney is going to have a tough time going into this fight over tea party voters, it looks like. >> i almost feel sorry for the guy. it's like 2008 all over again. he is trying to wrap himself into a pretzel. the thing i thought he was doing well so far was that he was being authentic. he was being the real romney, which is the jobs governor and talking about his record as a governor. and in the private sector as well. but anytime he goes and starts kissing the rings with the tea party, he's going to get himself in trouble because, you know, the tea party folks, you know, they know who's one of them, and rick perry is one of them. and mitt romney ain't. this is like a race between
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arthur fonzarelli and richey cunningham. >> predict for us rick perry's performance in his very first presidential debate. >> he hasn't had that much debate experience. he's won nine races in texas, and he's won every one of them. he is a very aggressive campaigner. but the reality is by being very strategic in a lot of those races, he didn't debate that much. he has no experience on the national stage. and mitt romney has become a very good debater. it will be a high bar for rick perry. and there should be low expectations, and probably will be as there ought to be. >> mark, that was the perfect answer to build suspense for what the perry performance will be in the msnbc debate. thank you very much for joining us tonight, mark. >> kick it, lawrence. thanks. coming up -- why we wish f. scott fitzgerald could mean warren buffett. that's in "the rewrite." and later, is america safer
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and save up to thousands of dollars. call this toll-free number now. buffettism is spreading. warren buffett's idea that the rich should pay more in taxes is being picked up by the european super rich. that's in "the rewrite," next. and later, nbc news chief foreign correspondent richard engel be premiering his "day of destruction -- decade of war" which is coming up on this network.
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this is "the rewrite" i never expected to do. the time has come for me to rewrite f. scott fitzgerald. i know there could be no greater literary sacrilege than rewriting the greatest novelist of the 20th century. ok, one of the greatest novelists of the 20th century. what we have to talk about now is too important for me to lose the hemingway crowd. i think what we can agree on is so far nickelson baker is the greatest novelist of the 21st century. here is the 1926 bit of fitzgerald that needs rewriting. let me tell you about the very rich. they are different from you and me. they possess and enjoy early.
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and it does something to them. it makes them soft where we are hard. and cynical. and cynical where we are trustful. in a way that unless you were born rich, it is very difficult to understand. they think deep in their hearts that they are better than we are because we have to discover the compensations and refuges of life for ourselves. even when they enter deep into our world or sink below us, they still think that they are better than we are. they are different. okay. now that i have reread it, i see that like the rest of fitzgerald, it really is perfect. especially because he was talking about the people who were born rich. warren buffett was born four years after fitzgerald wrote that.
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and he was not born rich. which may be why he wrote an op-ed piece in "the new york times" last month in which he revealed exactly how much he paid in federal income taxes. $6,938,744, and he advocated higher federal taxes on himself. buffett pointed out that although the top federal income tax rate is currently 35%, super rich people like him don't pay anything close to that percentage. he wrote, what i paid was only 17.4% of my taxable income. he pulled back the curtain uncomfortably for some of his super rich friends. if you make money with money, as some of my super rich friends do, your tax percentage may be a bit lower than mine. but if you earn money from a job, your tax percentage will surely exceed mine.
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most likely by a lot. buffett dismantled some republican anti-tax arguments in his piece. he said he paid a higher percentage of his income in taxes in the 1980s and the 1990s when tax rates were higher, and that according to republican theory, i should have thrown a fit and refused to invest because of the elevated tax rates on capital gains and dividends. i didn't refuse, nor did others. i have worked with investors for 60 years, and i have yet to see anyone shy away from a sensible investment because of the tax rate on the potential gain. buffett noted that the tax burden on the super rich has declined significantly in the last 20 years. in 1992, the top 400 american income earners paid 29.2% in taxes. by 2008, that had dropped to 21.5%. while the overall income of the
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top 400 rose exponentially from $17 billion to $91 billion. buffett proposes as i have for years creating a new tax bracket for incomes above $1 million, and yet another top tax bracket for incomes of $10 million or more. that means you, bill o'reilly. the last line of buffett's op-ed reads, my friends and i have been coddled long enough by a billionaire friendly congress. it's time for our government to get serious about shared sacrifice. these days, the oracle of omaha is only ignorable in the house of representatives. in europe, some of the super rich are joining warren buffett's call to action. this week, maurice levy wrote a companion piece to the buffett op-ed in "the financial times." he is the chairman and chief
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executive of the giant french advertising company. the headline for his op-ed is, "i am not a masochist, but the rich must pay more." the french, you see, must always make some kind of sexual confession to get your attention, even when discussing tax policy. so, ok, he's not a masochist. but he is very rich, and he recognizes that something must be done about the 35 years of french governments running a deficit, and he says, it seems to me the only fair -- it seems to me only fair that the most privileged members of our society should take up a heavier share of this national burden. he mentions warren buffett in his piece, but he says he came to this conclusion without any prompting from buffett. like buffett, levy is not a free-spending liberal who just wants the government to have more money to spend. levy writes, it should be clear that increasing taxes will not
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resolve public deficits. such a tactic would be futile and could only encourage greater self indulgence. he assumes as buffett does that there will be some painful spending cutting necessary to bring government budgets back toward balance, and like buffett he understands most of those cuts in spending will affect the middle class and the poor. and so it is in the buffett spirit of shared sacrifice that levy is willing and ready to pay higher taxes. he ends his piece saying, if the wealthy can endure higher taxes without complaint, the less privileged may feel able to bear the pain that sharp-edged forms will entail. i never thought i would find myself saying this, but it is time to increase my share of taxes. now the top tax rate in france that levy wants to raise is currently 41%. that's six percentage points
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higher than the top tax rate in the united states. levy and other rich europeans who already live with higher tax burdens than their american counterparts believe they can afford to pay yet higher taxes and that it is simply the right thing to do. we have on our hands now an entirely new phenomenon. buffettism. the super rich willing to pay more in taxes. the super rich with a sense of responsibility. the super rich who believe in shared sacrifice. the super rich who believe the rich should pay more. the super rich who believe in progressive income taxation. we don't yet know how strong a political force buffettism may become, but it is entirely possible that on the campaign trail in the next year you will hear president obama mentioning the name warren buffett even more than the republican
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candidates mention ronald reagan. warren buffett and maurice levy are writing a new chapter in the world's history. of the super rich. ah, if only scott fitzgerald could have met warren buffett.
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9/11, 10 years later. we are now fighting wars in iraq and afghanistan, and at a cost of $1.2 trillion and at least 6,222 american lives. in addition to a truly
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uncountable number of iraqi and afghani casualties. after nearly 10 years spent hunting down the man responsible for 9/11, the u.s. navy s.e.a.l.s shot and killed osama bin laden this spring. despite the weakening of al qaeda, a recent review of the 9/11 commission's recommendations found that there are still gaps in our emergency preparedness. and while august 2011 marked the first month without a single u.s. military death in iraq, june was the deadliest month there in nearly three years. as the nation pauses to mark the 10-year anniversary of 9/11 next week, a new msnbc documentary asks, where have the wars, political battles, and heightened security really brought us? >> the nypd operates a separate air unit. we are taken up by detective in a surveillance helicopter. >> over there in the harbor, that's one of our security
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checks. >> the cameras can see a lot more than the statue of liberty. they can read license plates, see in infrared, and take thermal images so precise, they can pick out a single squirrel in central park. >> this camera can pick up the heat of a lit cigarette about a mile away. >> nbc news chief foreign correspondent richard engel and rachel maddow will debut "days of destruction -- decade of war" coming up. the documentary explores america's response to the attacks on 9/11 and what progress has been made since. joining me now is co-host of that new documentary, "day of destruction decade of war" and nbc news chief foreign correspondent richard engel. thank you for joining me. >> it's a pleasure. and it's three hours long.
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one hour tonight. we could have had 10 hours. >> don't scare them off with the three hour thing. >> tonight it's an hour. that's all i'm asking. >> and then there's tomorrow night. richard, what -- do you get to a conclusion about the net value of all of the measures that have been taken since 9/11 versus their net cost? i mean, there is some cost to the things that we've imposed. what have we gained? >> well, there has been a huge cost of what has been imposed and what has happened. i think what has been gained is that physically, the united states is probably safer. airports are safer. al qaeda has been weakened. the infrastructure is to a degree safer. so that is what has been gained. but what has been lost is, well, 2 million troops, more than 2 million troops in fact have been sent overseas on combat tours.
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more than 6,000 of them ever came back. 10 times that many came back injured. over $1 trillion has been spent. and because of all of this, intelligence officials, counterterrorism officials, will argue that while we may be safer and al qaeda is weaker, we are also weaker as a nation. and that has a huge cost. and has a huge cost in terms of security as well. our position vis-a-vis china, for example, isn't as strong. so how do you balance these competing things? being safer against some physical threat, which is never going to go away, versus potentially losing a rung on your position in the world. >> and i would imagine that evaluating what actually works, what has been most effective, or what has been overreaction in the last 10 years is a very difficult thing. overreaction in particular. i mean, you know, was the war in iraq an overreaction to 9/11? is that helicopter we just saw an overreaction? have they actually found anything with that camera that can look at squirrels in central park?
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i mean, from the grand to the -- >> well, the squirrels are stealing their nuts, and which ones are not. and they are compiling a large list, and we'll be reading that tomorrow on this air. no. what works -- >> how do we measure overreaction? >> overreaction, i think you can measure in war. you can measure in actions. that iraq, for example, the more you think about the decade, the more you come back to iraq. and the fact that it is still a mystery to most americans why we went to war in iraq. that's a gaping hole in this decade that remains unanswered. some people talk about overreaction. 19 people attacked the united states with box cutters. and the united states in the name of counterterrorism launched two ground wars. so i think it is possible, and many people do in this documentary, talk about overreaction. what seems to work are small focused administrations or small focused organizations, like the
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navy s.e.a.l.s, like the nypd, actually. it's not a very small organization, but relative to national and international counterterrorism bodies, it is fairly small, and has a specific objective, which is to protect new york, compared to a much more abstract objective like sending the airborne divisions to iraq to spread democracy so that they can dry up frustration which leads to terrorism. that is a much more nebulous goal. and people say that is not nearly as success. as smaller groups with a specific goal. >> the documentary is "day of destruction -- decade of war." part one is up next. richard, thank you for joining me tonight. >> thank you. and i hope people watch. >> they are going to watch, right now. you can have the last word online at our blog, and you can

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